At last, basketball arrived at high schools in New York state on Monday, the first day of practice, including in Section 6.
The start of high risk sports — with the exception of wrestling — arrived after a hectic week of meetings between sections, leagues and local health departments and scheduling to put seasons in place. As a result, Section 6 set new dates for its remaining sports: winter, “Fall II” and spring.
The winter high-risk sports (basketball and ice hockey) started Monday, Feb. 1 and can run until March 27. Other winter sports, including bowling, boys swimming and alpine skiing, already started last month after receiving guidance as low or moderate risk sports.
Fall II sports (football, volleyball, competitive cheerleading) run from March 22-May 15, while all remaining spring sports are set for May 10-June 30. That last season now includes wrestling, which the section postponed to the spring after new recommendations from county health departments.
“Our Executive Committee met with representatives from all five counties and chose to follow the pleas of our health officials and the CDC, to pause our wrestling season,” said Section 6 President Brett Banker in a statement on Thursday. “We never discussed canceling wrestling completely although that was an option. We know that a move to spring may cause conflicts with athletes and coaches, however we are thankful we had this alternative.”
Section 6 also voted to inform the NYSPHSAA it will not participate in spring state competition; the state association had already canceled championships and regionals for the fall and winter.
“As difficult as it was, by removing our teams from state competition in the spring, we can now extend our calendars and offer more contests for our athletes,” Banker noted. “We anticipate that with this move, our athletes will likely complete full seasons, which they lost last year.”
The Section 6 boys basketball committee planned for a shortened postseason, with sectionals running the week of March 22-27 and limited to the top eight seeds in each classification.
Section 6’s Thursday statement also clarified its position on fan attendance at indoor, high-risk events. Spectators are currently not allowed to attend basketball games, but that could be subject to change.
“We are prepared to reassess where we are with infection rates and other data, the week of February 22,” Banker said. “We certainly want families to be able to watch their athletes compete. But we need to offer districts the opportunity first to roll out protocols and gauge how successful they are.”